Simple Life-changing daily habits that will help you feel better long term.
One of the things I love most about moving into a new year is that we tend to be more introspective and assess if our habits (and life situation) is serving us positively or not.
As many of you might know, almost 3 years ago now I had a life-threatening burnout and since then I’ve been on a wellness journey, figuring out what works best for me and my body.
So today I thought I’d share some of my favorite health habits & strategies to boost your immune system, your overall wellness, and help you feel good for the long term.
Feel free to adapt them and make part of your New Year's resolution!
1. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE
Water is essential to life and your body its no exception. Water helps you support your body's internal metabolic functioning (e.g. immune systems, endocrine system, digestive system,...) while inviting wellness, alertness, and mental clarity into your state of Being.
It's one of the body's MUST HAVE in order to function properly.
So I’m going to simplify things for you and say, always start your days with 1 to 2 glasses of water. Before you grab a coffee, tea, or anything else, drink a large glass of water FIRST (or two medium).
Then have at least 4-5 more glasses throughout the day, to maintain this level of hydration, preferably 15min before or 30 min after main meals.
This simple habit will most surely invite a new sense of Energy and Rejuvenation into your daily life.
2. EAT HEALTHY
OK, this is definitely an important and life-changing topic, so I divided it into a couple of different strategies.
2.1 Home Cook
It is now quite standard in science that Home Cooking is definitely the Main Ingredient in a Healthier Diet and Lifestyle (e.g. 1,2... ). People who cook for themselves more often than they eat out tend to be healthier overall.
Although undeniably convenient, restaurant meals typically contain higher amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and just have more calories than home-cooked meals. Plus, let’s be honest, they’re usually not using high-quality ingredients.
While at home you can control exactly what nourishment is going into your body as well as the quantity and quality of ingredients. Which brings us to ...
2.2. Meal PLAN and PREP
Meal preparation and planning during the weekend, not only saves time in the kitchen during the week, but it also ensures healthy meals can be made fast and easy.
When I plan what I’d like to eat later in the week and prep in advance (e.g. prepare sauces involved, prepare vegetables in advance, salads, create a list with all the ingredients to take with me when grocery shopping...), I've found out that has a significant impact on staying on that healthy path and making healthy choices.
2.3. Rethink WHAT you Eat (and WHEN you eat it)
In Western culture, we have all these notions of what breakfast, lunch, and dinner should look like. Breakfast is a bowl of cereal, maybe a slice (or two) of bread with ham and cheese, (or jam), or pancakes with syrup. While, lunch and dinner might be a salad, a sandwich, a pizza, or a meat/ fish dish with some veggies and potatoes or rice.
But this is only the result of how we’ve been marketed to. A way to make us eat (and therefore consume) more quantity and diversity of foods.
The interesting thing is that in many other parts of the world, food is simply food and it can be eaten at any time of day. The fact that you can eat any food any time of day is such a simple mindset shift and yet so transformative.
2.4. Eat VEGETABLES in the MORNING
Building on that last point, breakfast is one of our most marketing influenced meals, because of those previously mentioned foods like cereal, bread, pancakes, pastries, or even oatmeal. Foods that are in fact quite harmful
So I challenge you to break free from this mischievous marketing illusion and instead do your body a world of good by eating more vegetables first thing in the morning (after the water of course).
Sneak spinach and other vegetables into a breakfast scramble (or your morning eggs), opt or make veggie-based bread (e.g. zucchini bread, or sweet potato bread) with sautéed veggies or healthy protein and fats instead of butter or jam or even better, swap your bread entirely for cauliflower buns or sweet potato toast.
2.5. Keep HEALTHY SNACKS available
If I open my countertop, fridge, or the pantry and all I have ready to eat is bread, cookies, and chocolate I’ll admit that it would be challenging to resist.
So instead I make my life easier by keeping healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and previously prepared veggies (with hummus or a healthy veggie dip) front and center. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping yourself to make healthy choices.
3. MOVE YOUR BODY
Often we overlook how a healthy mind breeds a healthy body and visa versa. That’s why exercise is one of the most immediate ways to not only maintaining bone density, flexibility, and muscle strength but also to boost our immune system, confidence, and overall wellbeing.
Plus, exercise will help you to release physical and emotional stress, reshape your physical appearance, and flood your brain with “feel-good” endorphins.
So focus on moving at multiple times throughout the day, which could be standing and stretching at your desk, going for a walk around the block, doing yoga, going on a hike, or riding a bike (maybe with your kids). The more you can move and keep the blood flowing throughout the day the better. Just the feeling of moving around will have a tremendous impact on the way you feel.
So, get up and get moving! Pick an exercise that you love (e.g. dancing, running, gym workout, functional training...) and commit to it! Half an Hour a day every (or even every two days) will do Magic for your current Health!!
4. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Sleep is truly one of the most important, yet often overlooked factors of staying healthy.
When are sleeping, our body uses this time for the fundamental brain and bodily functions such as: repair and renew of critical tissues, hormones, cells, and neurotransmitters; clean and detox our body from harmful toxins; fight infections; memory consolidations; interpretation and meaning attribution of the previous day events...
In sum, there’s a whole lot of amazing healing and rejuvenating that happens while we’re laying in bed with our eyes shut! In fact, that’s why sleep deprivation is tied to so many different health issues. SO, in order to create optimal long-term health, sleep needs to be a top priority and we need to remember that it’s absolutely essential to our emotional and physical wellbeing.
5. GET QUIET TIME (a.k.a. away from your screen time)
Modern Lifestyle invites into an abnormal amount of time connected to laptops, gaming consoles, and mobile devices, making it really hard to turn off, and disconnect. However, technology overuse not only causes horrible posture and spine alignment but also as a significant impact on our emotional and mental health.
Although technology can actually facilitate our life making it more sustainable, nevertheless, technological interventions can also reinforce consumerism, limiting beliefs, and mass surveillance. That’s why it’s essential to create boundaries and offline periods every single day.
So set boundaries with your screen time, turn off pop-up notifications and when you’re at home, try to completely unplug. The Internet will still be there tomorrow, but you might find that you now have time to take that walk, read a book, meditate, take a yoga class, or meal prep a few veggies for the week.
Plus, You will find out that this quiet time allows you to reconnect with yourself and your vision, (e.g. your goals, dreams, desires, and progress), will help you reduce stress and calm both the body and mind. A simple half an hour each day to check with yourself is an amazing way to start (or even just 5 minutes throughout the day of closing our eyes and taking several deep breaths works wonders as well).
6. VISIT MOTHER NATURE
Anyone who has spent quality time in nature knows that it’s virtually impossible not to feel calmer and more centered afterward. There’s this amazing healing and rejuvenating that happens to our bodies when we surround ourselves with green trees, lush grass, and blue waters.
In nature, not only do our brains get some much-needed downtime, but our bodies also get some vitamin D and beautiful fully oxygenated fresh air. Plus, it almost immediately simmers down our body's emotional and mental stress and anxiety levels. Combine it with some walking/running, hiking, or biking and you are in for a treat.
I always aim to get at least 2 to 3 hours of one on one time with mother nature every week. But feel free to explore and find what works for you!!
7. THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Lastly, if there's something I realized throughout this journey of self-healing and development is that: there is no one size fits all when it comes to diet, health, and wellness. We all have different genetics, a different microbiome, different stress levels, different soul missions, and different well, pretty much everything.
And although there are undeniable tips and guidelines to guide us, (e.g. the harmful effects of dairy, sugar, or processed foods on our body), ultimately a certain diet or supplement may have been beneficial for your friend, sister, or mom, but it may not be for you.
So The best thing you can do for your own health is to take some time to figure out, really figure out, what makes you feel your absolute best. And remember that what may have made you feel good last year, may not be the same thing that makes you feel good this year, so it’s okay to change.
Our bodies are not static, they’re everchanging and growing, and so we must be open to change as well.
Now I’m sure I could go on with more healthy habits and tips but I think these are the ones that have helped me the most.
And although quite simple in essence, their daily practice has a tremendous effect on your health and quality of life in the long run. Plus, the cumulative effect of all of those small habits adds up over time in a way that can be earth-shattering.
So, my suggestion if you want to start transforming your life today is, just pick one of these habits and commit to it for a while (preferably one that is fundamental and quite weakened in your routine, e.g. hydration, eating clean, exercise, sleep). Commit to it until it becomes such an important part of your routine that you completely forgot how it was before you were doing it. Then pick another and commit!
When you realize you will have transformed your Health, Happiness, and Overall Quality of Life in ways like you never thought it was possible.
And slowly but steadily you will gradually become a healthier, lifeful, and more joyful Version of Yourself!🤗🙏